Child & Migrant Services (CMS) was founded by three amazing women in 1954: Ms. Vera Foss, Ms. Margaret Talbott and Ms. Dorothy Power.
At a time when treatment of migrant farm workers in the US was often dismal, and when the voices of women were often not heard, these women and others like them made tremendous contributions. Agricultural labor practices in Mesa County are better than in many other places largely because of their dedication and compassion.
1948 The Colorado Council of Churches sent Jean Smith to Palisade to begin work at the newly purchased Palisade Labor Camp. She enlisted the help of several local churches. The first Migrant Ministry Committee included, among others, Margaret Talbott, Vera Foss and Dorothy Power. They began to address the basic needs of migrant workers. These needs included clothing, food, medical care, education, recreation, and housing.
1954-1955 The Mesa County Health Department informed Migrant Ministry that if they could gather broader civic support for their efforts, it would be possible to receive federal funds for the committee’s health services to migrants. In response, the Palisade Woman’s Club established the Mesa County Migrant Council. A non-profit, countywide, and voluntary organization, the Mesa County Migrant Council consisted of representatives of clubs, churches, and governmental agencies. In time, the Mesa County Migrant Council would become known as Child and Migrant Services.
1955 A Health Service was established at the Palisade Labor Camp.
1956 Palisade Migrant School was established. It was held at Taylor Elementary during peach season.
1961-1963 Dr. Bliss and the Mesa County Migrant Council advocated for a new Migrant Medicare Plan at Colorado State Health Department. In 1963, local funds were secured and a new dental program was put in place.
1962 The Palisade Labor Camp closed. The 200 units were sold to individual growers. The Council needed to find a new place to operate.
1968 The recreation Center opened in Palisade.
1968 The Childcare Center opened in Fruita.
1971 The 4C Daycare Center began.
1974 The Hospitality Center Trailer opened. It operated as a thrift shop and referral service for workers and families.
1988 With the help of Margaret and Harry Talbott and many other contributors, the building at 721 Peach Avenue in Palisade was purchased for the new location of CMS.
1996 CMS and Talbott Farms dedicated the Talbott Farmworker Housing Complex. The complex was reported to be the first new housing for farm workers in Mesa County for nearly fifty years.
1999 Six farm labor housing units were completed.
2000 CMS was presented with the prestigious Eagle Award, which acknowledged CMS’ excellence in providing affordable housing and community services.
2002-2007 Six more farm labor housing units were completed.
2004 CMS added a new mental health program: Programa Promoviendo Buena Salud.
2009 CMS began selling authentic Mexican tamales, prepared primarily by volunteers, including farm worker community members, to support its services and programs.